circumvent

verb
cir·​cum·​vent | \ˌsər-kᵊm-ˈvent \
circumvented; circumventing; circumvents

Definition of circumvent 

transitive verb

1 : to manage to get around especially by ingenuity or stratagem the setup circumvented the red tape— Lynne McTaggart circumvent a problem

2a : to hem in Circumvented by the enemy, he had to surrender.

b : to make a circuit around the river circumvented

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Other Words from circumvent

circumvention \-​ˈven(t)-​shən \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for circumvent

Synonyms

beat, bypass, dodge, get around, shortcut, sidestep, skirt

Antonyms

comply (with), follow, keep, obey, observe

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The Circular History of Circumvent

If you’ve ever felt as if someone were circling around the rules, you have an idea of the origins of "circumvent" - it derives from the Latin circum, meaning "circle," and "ventus," the past participle of the Latin verb venire, meaning "to come." The earliest uses of "circumvent" referred to a tactic of hunting or warfare in which the quarry or enemy was encircled and captured. Today, however, "circumvent" more often suggests avoidance than entrapment; it typically means to "get around" someone or something, as in our example sentences.

Examples of circumvent in a Sentence

Los Angeles was the beachhead for the sushi invasion, attracting many Japanese chefs eager to make their fortunes and to circumvent the grueling 10-year apprenticeship required in their homeland. — Jay McInerney, New York Times Book Review, 10 June 2007 … Rondon and Lyra paddled to the right side, where they found a channel that circumvented the worst part of the rapids. — Candice Millard, The River of Doubt, 2005 His appreciation of this finer side of life is circumvented by a cynicism that he tells me is common to Eastern Europeans. — Lynne Tillman, Motion Sickness, 1991 The thirty-six-hour workweek established by the garment-industry code was circumvented by having the workers punch out at five P.M., leave by the back door (their usual entrance), then return by the front door and work until eleven P.M. without punching the clock. — Melissa Hield, Speaking For Ourselves, (1977) 1984 We circumvented the problem by using a different program. He found a way to circumvent the law.
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Recent Examples on the Web

There’s also a helicopter that allows you to circumvent the entire map in mere minutes to find the best position. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Black Ops 4 merges Fortnite and PUBG into the best Call of Duty in years," 19 Oct. 2018 The Saudi refinery would undercut any Iranian attempts to circumvent U.S. sanctions to sell oil to Pakistan. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, "Pakistan Pursues Saudis in Bid to Avoid More China Debt," 30 Sep. 2018 Diaz-Granados’s higher base salary, which the utility said was in line with industry standards, appeared intended to circumvent the legislature’s anti-bonus measure. Fortune, "Puerto Rico's Bankrupt Utility Has No Leader After Pay Scandal," 12 July 2018 But reproductive breeding researchers have made heroic attempts to circumvent the pitfalls of incompatibility. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "A Primer on the Zoo’s Possibly Pregnant Giant Panda," 28 June 2018 According to documents filed with the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, the two made the claim to circumvent regulations that prohibit using government funds to pay for food made by an outside chef when a public residence employs a cook. Noga Tarnopolsky, latimes.com, "Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israeli prime minister, charged with fraud over government funds for gourmet meals," 21 June 2018 The lawsuit accuses Greitens and his staff of using Confide — an app that deletes a text message after it’s been read — to circumvent the state’s open records law. Jason Hancock, kansascity, "Lawyer says screenshot proves Greitens’ staff used Confide for public business," 19 June 2018 Lawmakers need a simple majority of 218 members to circumvent the near-absolute power of Ryan and his Leadership Team to keep matters off the House floor. Philip Elliott, Time, "Why Republicans Can't Agree on Immigration," 7 June 2018 Employers argue that the drug copayment programs are an attempt to circumvent their efforts to manage health care costs. Special To The Oregonian, OregonLive.com, "Prescription drug copay help: 2018 changes leave patients paying more," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circumvent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of circumvent

1539, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for circumvent

Latin circumventus, past participle of circumvenire, from circum- + venire to come — more at come

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Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for circumvent

The first known use of circumvent was in 1539

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More Definitions for circumvent

circumvent

verb

English Language Learners Definition of circumvent

: to avoid being stopped by (something, such as a law or rule) : to get around (something) in a clever and sometimes dishonest way

circumvent

verb
cir·​cum·​vent | \ˌsər-kəm-ˈvent \
circumvented; circumventing

Kids Definition of circumvent

: to avoid the force or effect of by cleverness They tried to circumvent the rules.

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